July 27, 2020 Subject:
And now for something completely different
Last of a run of 6 at MSG. This is a unique show because it features lots of tenor sax. In fact it often focuses on the sax rather than Grateful Dead fireworks, so you have to be predisposed to want that. The opening sequence is so good that it's like being thrust into a second set right off. I suspect that's why some call it the "last good show". There are a couple in '94 I like more than this night so I'll refrain from such appellations. There were only two more Dark Stars after this, both in March '94 (3/16/94 Chicago & 3/30/94 Omni). With David Murray playing most of the show, it was probably setlisted backstage.
First Set. Help>Slipknot! has such flow, such thoughtfulness, especially the latter, preparing for a Franklin's with several great sections. Minglewood continues with most of that energy [New York fillies/T right here in New York City]. Note that after, @7:50, Vince plays a Shangri-La tuning (the Big Band song, not the Kinks or the one by Versus). The mix has left something to be desired, but it tanks on Ramble, then improves again for Masterpiece. David Murray comes out for Bird Song. BTW, if you are a jazz person, check out Ming or Special Quartet; you'll see why he had become known at the time. Jer starts leaving space for him, though it takes awhile for Murray to prep. But when he blows it's symbiotic. They let the song breathe, then follow it. It leads them quite a ways out by 9mins. Comparisons to Marsalis' 3/29/90 are inevitable, but for my money this surpasses.
Second Set. Not the most exciting openers. On Easy Answers, Murray hangs back and waits for clear indication. It is still sounding half-written, and like nobody really knows their part. With no further lift comes Lazy River Road, a song full of non sequiturs - but not in a psychedelic/China Cat way. One of the longest versions of Estimated Prophet is loaded with jazz excursions. Some of it works and some seriously doesn't. But it appears the band were enjoying themselves, and in the Dead that's a big element. Must hear once. How often is Dark Star half as long as the preceding Estimated? Still, it's nice. Drums has a long Bralove section, and Murray free-forms much of Space. Pointless skronking or jazz expression? You decide. The set's second peak, Wharf Rat works better as a sax song than any others in the set. Throwing Stones is a mess, if not a trainwreck, with Bobby barely getting a handle on it in places (and the sax does NOT work here). James Cotton enters and can't wait to blow harmonica on Lovelight. That's eight onstage, if yr keeping track. Bobby can't hear himself, then his mic is briefly cut so James takes a solo. They call the set fairly quickly. Vince plays a Vaudeville flourish, then a perfunctory I Fought The Law is in and out in under 3mins.
1st Set: B 2nd Set: C
Overall = 3 stars
Help on the Way>Slipknot!>Franklin's Tower - thoughtful playing
Bird Song - w/tenor sax; bears repeat listening
SOURCES: The 137337_sbd_miller is the cleanest and most accurate. The yubah_565 is an EQd version. There's a great matrix (142983_mtx_tobin) and a great AUD (109235_nakcm300-pasternak). The vid is usually up on YouTube.
April 17, 2019 Subject:
I sang a little while and then flew on.
December 2, 2018 Subject:
Maybe the last great show
This version sounds the best to my ears - has a certain warmth and the digipops are eliminated. Thanks again Charlie!